Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Kess Van Dongen’s painting entitled Modjesko, Soprano Singer, 1908

I choose to write on the topic of fauvism. Fauvism has always interested me because of the vivid colors patterns and textures. Fauvism falls under the category of modernism. The term ‘fauve’ means ‘wild beasts’. It was originally used in 1905 by a conservative art critic named Louis Vauxalles. The artists that he was criticizing took his word/ term and made it their own term to commemorate their own logic of artistic freedom. Modern artists have used wild color but the term ‘fauve’ is only used to describe a very small collection of artists, (most were friends), that were working in France between the years of 1898-1908. Some of these ‘wild artists’ include Andre Derain (1880-1954), Kees van Dongen (1877-1968), Henri Matisse (1869-19554), Georges Rouault (1871-1958), and Maurice De Vlaminck (1876-1958). Some descriptions that can be brought to mind when talking about fauvism are patterns of color, simplified scenes, flatness, intensity, and non-naturalistic. Fauves were heavily influenced by Vincent Van Gogh and Gauguin. Andre Derain, Kees van Dongen, Henri Matisse, Georges Rouault and Maurice De Vlaminck all exhibited together at the Salon d’ Automne of 1905. Their art work caused a sensation. It was at this art show that the term ‘fauve’ came from. Derain and de Vlaminck often painted with incredibly powerful colors with especially thick very heavy brush strokes that were reminiscent of Vincent van Gogh’s art work. The Fauves used strong colors straight from the paint tubes and then applied them directly to the painting canvas all without mixing or shading. An example of this technique is shown in Kess Van Dongen’s painting entitled Modjesko, Soprano Singer, 1908. The woman in the painting is shown as a flat yellow shape. She is not shown in a three dimensional human body form. She casts a red and orange shadow on a solid pink background thus the stark brightness of the yellow with the other blocks of color helps to show a brightness and intensity to the woman in the painting. This work of art is located in the Museum of Modern Art located in New York City.

Fauvism is all about bright vivid colors. In fauvism landscape and distant hills don’t look like landscape or distant hills; they are just patterns of bright beautiful intense colors. The Fauves were not tied down by the idea of the actual color of their subject matter, they would instead paint trees orange, sky pink, and a person’s face green. Shadows were mostly shown by using a different color rather that a darker color of the same. For example a shadow from the grass would be more like a navy blue or a red, rather than an expected green.

In closing I think that fauvism as well as art is about being creative, having fun, making things that no one has ever seen before, and as well as making people think and react/talk about as well as appreciate art!

Written by: Gutter Chic 2011

Source(s): …isms understanding art written by Stephen Little

Source Type: book